By Lawrence Lazarus – The Daily Times

Agricultural Research and Extension Trust (ARET) on Friday, 13 December 2013 struck a MK5 Million Kwacha partnership deal with Malawi Savings Bank (MSB) and NICO General Insurance Company Limited.

Speaking at the ceremony in Salima, ARET Deputy General Manager, John Nyangulu said the deal entails that MSB and NICO contribute MK1 Million Kwacha each to ARET demonstrations and in turn have their services sold during the demonstrations.

“As ARET we undertake 175 country-wide farmer demonstrations and we require MK5 Million Kwacha for such a program. Now MSB and Nico are coming to support our demonstrations on condition that they sale their services during the demonstrations,” Nyangulu said.

He further said the partnership will equip farmers with the financial mg technical support they need in their trade. “As Aret we provide farmers with the financial and technical know-how on how they can best perform as farmers. Now with the coming of MSBI and NICO, farmers will have an opportunity to access loans and have their crops insured,” he said.

NICO Assistant General Manage, Master Mbale said the partnership is an efficient venture both to the farmers and the companies.

“To us, as companies, this will help us increase our customer base as we will be able to reach out to almost all the farmers in the country, and to the farmers, they will be getting the whole package, technical knowledge and financial assistance at the same time,” said Mbale.

MSB Agri-Business Division Manager, Jacob Mderu said farmers will benefit from the partnership as they will access new technologies through loans that the bank provides.

The partnership is for the 2013-2014 farming season with a possibility of extension.